I guess we could turn this into a listing of songs we found poorly recorded, while also adding some that are terrific. Going against the grain, here are a couple to include in yet a third category; songs that sounded poor forty years ago, but somehow inexplicably got improved before coming to TIDAL (or any other streaming service). In the 1970s I really liked Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Blackfoot (they were extremely underrated, their guitarist grew up with the Lynyrd Skynyrd guys and played in that band for the first 10 minutes or so of its existence - he’s been with Skynyrd for the last ten or fifteen years but in the late 70s I loved Blackfoot). All the ELP records (LPs) had a hiss to them, every one; and the Blackfoot album sounded like someone had recorded it at home using pro-tools (although pro-tools wasn’t used as my comparison in 1978). But on TIDAL now, somehow all the ELP and Blackfoot albums sound pretty good. I don’t know what happened, but they are plenty listenable as opposed to… not.
As for some real good stuff, here’s a sheet I put in the box as I was shipping some headphones to a guy who purchased them from me:
For female vocals, the Kristin Andreassen CD is one of the absolute best-recorded CDs I own (nearly on par with the dozen or so I have from Mapleshade/Wildchild, but Pierre’s catalog is a bit eclectic). She is a terrific vocalist and some of her stories/lyrics are hilarious. (Try also “The Stupid Kiss” from when she was in a group called “Sometymes Why”.) If you listen to CDs seriously (I still find them 5% - 10% better than streaming, but it may depend on one’s transport and interconnects), hers and the Jennifer Warnes CD are must buys. (This from someone who purchases four or five CDs per year.) At all our local headphone meets, “The Ballad of the Runaway Horse” gets listened to every time someone comes in with new gear - as well as most of “Kiss Me Hello”. I never much listened to Allison Krauss until I saw her and Robert Plant on CMT’s Crossroads (one of the best shows ever on television), but have come to think of her as one of the better vocalists ever in Country Music (last two tracks of “Raising Sand” are good places to start).
The only comment I have about the Rolling Stones, and some (many) of the “old” recordings is, one needs to consider how differently people mixed groups back then: Drums not in the middle, two vocals on the left, two on the right… However, (after getting the right frame of mind) when I listen to recordings from the 1960s I listen for two things: do the instruments sound like real instruments (and vocals), and, do I feel like I could be in the (sometimes primitive) studio, listening to the musicians as they are recording? Two to try are Nancy Sinatra’s “Those Boots Were Made for Walkin’” from the album “Kid Stuff” (I like that recording the best) and The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” from “The Wrecking Crew”. (Be very careful not to mistakenly select The Meteors’ version of “These Boots Were Made for Walkin” from their Psychobilly Goes Pop" album! That’s a rabbit-hole all to itself!) The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” from “Waiting for the Sun” and “Love Her Madly” from LA Woman are two other examples of recordings where you can hear all the instruments recorded fairly well (not all muddled together - and the Doors recordings do feature a fair number of instruments), just not placed how we would do it today (or, since 1975). For a step past this, a bit of a digression forward from 1968, Bob Ezrin was one of the first “new” terrific producers starting in 1971; for something surprisingly good, skip the title track and listen to the remainder of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” album - it is extremely well done. (After the title track, the album is fairly cohesive: as with “We’ve Got the Beat” by the Go-Go’s, the (not yet named that) School’s Out album was pretty much finished but they thought they needed a single, so they wrote “School’s Out” and added it at the beginning.) Ezrin went on to work with Aerosmith, Kansas, Kiss… Taylor Swift… Andrea Bocelli, Kristin Chenoweth. And, oh, by the way, he produced Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.
OK, aren’t I supposed to be working? Hope someone found something here, interesting. I guess a new thread of “Songs/Albums we like which are also terrifically recorded” could be started… I’ve got to finish my taxes, what a downer.